Federer, Raonic to clash in Brisbane final

Roger Federer will face Milos Raonic in a rematch of last year’s Brisbane International title decider after dominating Austria’s Dominic Thiem in his semi-final on Saturday.

Federer, who has battled flu this week, won 6-1 6-4 in an hour-long clash at Pat Rafter Arena to set up a crack at his 89th ATP title against Raonic, who beat Bernard Tomic in straight sets.

“I think it was my best match of the tournament,” the Swiss maestro said.

The former world No.1 narrowly prevailed in a three-set epic over Raonic in last year’s final, and looks to be in the right kind of form after sweeping aside Thiem, the youngest player in the world’s top 30.

Federer’s performance was largely error-free, although a gallant Thiem managed to break him in the second set and fired home a few impressive winners.

“I really thought I hit the ball really well but that’s how it goes, you always play better towards the end (of the tournament),” Federer said.

“Nobody cares how you played in the beginning as long as you got there.

“I’m very excited to be back in the final, it’s special playing Milos again tomorrow.”

Federer will now need to back up for his fourth match in as many days when he takes on Raonic, who edged Tomic 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) earlier on Sunday.

Neither player was able to break serve but Raonic stood up in the big moments in the match, even though Tomic was able to twice fight his way back from 5-1 down to level the scores in both tiebreakers.

“It was a great match, a difficult one. I’m happy with the way I’ve been able to start the year and how things are progressing,” said Raonic, ranked No.14 in the world.

Raonic’s booming serve was key in the first set as the 25-year-old sent down nine aces, while his aggression kept Tomic under constant pressure.

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